Yesterday, Cape Breton University (CBU) and Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey (MK) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to increase access to post-secondary education for Mi’kmaw people. As part of this agreement, 17 bursaries, valued at $3000 each, will be created for Mi’kmaw students, with some previous post-secondary education, who are interested in returning to university. The bursaries will be administered by MK and offered annually for the duration of the two-year pilot project.
“Indigenous education has been a significant part of our history for decades and has helped us become Atlantic Canada’s leader in Indigenous post-secondary education. This agreement with Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey (MK) that will provide financial support to mature Indigenous learners, is an important step to increase opportunities and make education more accessible to a greater number of students. Cape Breton University is very proud of the strong relationship we have with First Nation communities in Nova Scotia, and this agreement with MK will help to strengthen that bond,” says David Dingwall, President & Vice-Chancellor, Cape Breton University.
The intended outcome of the Post-Secondary Education Assistance Initiative is to make admission to post-secondary education easier and more accessible to a greater number of students. Through this program the hope is that there will be an increase in the number of Mi’kmaw people receiving post-secondary education, creating a bridge that will allow disqualified registered band members to access funding for post-secondary education, that otherwise may not have the opportunity.
Currently, financial assistance to applicants is provided within the limits of the funds available to MK for distribution. The Post-Secondary Education Assistance Initiative will enhance the program already in place by MK and will allow MK to support a greater number of students going forward.
“Programs such as the one CBU will be offering, allows our students to have a second chance to reach their goals. We have seen that students who are given access to second-chance funding are our success stories and they come back stronger than ever. I am thrilled to hear that CBU is offering this program because I have benefited personally from a program like this and know the opportunities it can create,” says Eskasoni Chief Leroy Denny and Board Chair of Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey.
This initiative will help realize CBU’s strategic ambitions and aligns with goals within its academic plan. By working together with MK, CBU is responding to community needs and helping to fulfill its vision for Mi’kmaq students.